Comets, Cults, and Coins: A material-theoretic framework for the archaeoastronomical study of the Book of Revelation

  • Rafael Dy-Liacco Archaeological Studies Program


Here I outline a material-theoretic framework for an archaeoastronomical study of the New Testament Book of Revelation. I begin with basic principles of materiality theory. I then argue that carefully observed celestial objects, as part of the material landscape, are on par with human-used structures. Thus, I develop a deeper notion of the “astral landscape.” Within this framework, I fit the basic Annaliste paradigm of three levels of space-time, and propose what I call a “cognitive-heuristic approach” to the study of this cognitive-material structure. Finally, employing data from astronomical software and the iconography of Roman coins, I show that this cognitive-heuristic approach allows an understanding of the New Testament Book of Revelation as a case of ancient prophetic sky reading.

Author Biography

Rafael Dy-Liacco, Archaeological Studies Program
Graduate student, Archaeological Studies Program, University of the Philippines, Diliman.